Civil Registration of Births/Marriage/Deaths became law in Ireland for Church of Ireland in 1845 and for Catholics in 1864. The indexes of these records are available to view and copy certificates to purchase to researchers who visit the Government Registration Office, Werburgh St., Dublin. These Civil Records are also available on Irish Genealogy ‘. All Baptisms are online from 1864 to 1916, Marriages from 1864 to 1940 and Deaths from 1864 to 1965. As per data protection obligations, the last year is updated annually. It is also possible to view the original record forms in most cases. Once you have found your ancestor’s name/es just click on the link to bring up the image. The older ones are being updated currently to bring all original images up to date. Click on the name
PRE-1864 Church Records. In theory, all Kerry Baptisms and Marriages from the early 1800s are listed online at Irish Genealogy. In practice, a number of years are ‘missing’ as per the table of the Catholic parishes below. These are secondary sources and have a number of transcription errors.
You might ask why they are ‘missing’. There are a number of reasons – ‘lost’, ‘missing without explanation’, ‘fire’, ‘flood’, the ‘Black and Tans’, ‘illegible’. Some of these reasons are understandable. Due to the Penal Laws, it was not possible or legal for Catholic Priests to keep a record of Births or Marriages so very few records survive until the early to middle part of the 19th Century. Parish Priests of the early nineteenth century, particularly in rural areas, lived a precarious lifestyle, didn’t have secretaries, a number didn’t have a permanent residence, not to mention an office and it is a miracle that so many registers have in fact survived. What remains of the original parish registers are still kept in local custody. They are often in a fragile state and may not be accessible to researchers.
Original Catholic Parish Registers
The images of the original Catholic Parish Registers available online at Registers.Nli.ie are a marvellous resource. While they were transcribed from the originals on to IrishGenealogy.ie, you now have the opportunity of seeing the entire entry. On these pages, you can see the original record of your ancestor’s baptism or marriage and you can also see any note that the priest of the time might have entered. The entries are almost all in Latin. They are not indexed on this website but have been indexed on FindMyPast.ie. and free of charge.
Church of Ireland Records
The Church of Ireland records have had an equally perilous history. Virtually intact until the fire in the Public Record Offices in 1922, those that had not been kept in Kerry in local custody or at least a copy kept, perished in this unfortunate fire. It is possible to see some Church of Ireland Parish records on Irish Genealogy, it is possible to see some of the alternative sources outlined below or some have been deposited in the Representative Church Body Library in Dublin.
Alternative Sources of Kerry Baptisms/Marriages/Deaths prior to 1864.
It is always advisable to check with the free LDS Website familysearch.org. I have found baptisms/marriages on that site that are not reflected on IrishGenealogy. The reason I am told is that the LDS listings were taken years earlier than the transcriptions on IrishGenealogy when original records were still in place in an individual parish. These records have a cut off date of 1880. I understand these transcriptions are copies of those held in the National Library of Ireland but I do not have absolute confirmation of this.
It is also advisable before giving up, to check and check again, ALL variations of your ancestor’s surname. Spelling was not standardised in the 19th century.
Where I have listed OCM, these are the 16 volumes of O’Kief Coshe Mange. The 16 volumes of primary genealogical and historical records are available in the Local History Dept of Tralee Library or the National Library of Ireland, Kildare St.., Dublin and in a number of North American libraries. They are not online.